What do you get when you mix Prada, architect Rem Koolhaas, an industrial site just south of Milan, and some 500 works of contemporary art? The answer was revealed last week at the Milan Furniture Fair, where Prada showcased plans for the new art center and exhibition space for the Prada Foundation. Founded in 1993 by designer Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, the foundation has established itself as a powerful force in the art world, sponsoring projects and exhibitions by the likes of Louise Bourgeois, Dan Flavin, Sam Taylor-Wood, and Francesco Vezzoli.
Prada and Bertelli commissioned the Koolhaas-led Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), longtime Prada collaborators, to transform an early 20th-century distillery south of Milan into the foundation’s sprawling new home. The 81,000-square-foot complex will be expanded with 108,000 square feet of new buildings. “We plan to add three new structures that vastly extend the range of its facilities and accomodations,” notes Koolhaas. The OMA team dubs the planned additions “tower” (an exhibition space), “box” (an auditorium), and “ideal museum,” which “combines the intimate qualities of a traditional museum — a collection of rooms of various dimensions and qualities — with a large open daylit hall for exhibitions of larger objects.”
But it’s one of the existing buildings that most intrigues us. Described by OMA as the “haunted house,” it is “an unusual vertical structure with many different rooms, and balconies that overlook the complex and the city.” The foundation plans to make it an ever-evolving experiment in interior design, switching up wallpaper snd furnishings to accent artwork that calls for a “domestic” setting. Spooooky!